Affinity for Darkness – Chapter Seven

5310360755_d24758bf17_zWithin seconds, everyone was gathered and ≈assembled in our room. I was in tears. I couldn’t understand what was happening. Everything in my mind was spinning out of control.

I couldn’t comprehend it. I had talked to Eve only the night before. How could she be dead now? How had she died?

“It looks like she died by bleeding to death,” Jill said, speaking softly. She too, was crying. I don’t think there was one of us who wasn’t. Even tough, strong, Karl had tears running down his face. “There is a cut near her left shoulder-blade that looks pretty nasty.”

“Do you think she fell and cut herself or something?” asked Don with a shaky voice.

Karl stepped forward, examining the cut more closely. None of us wanted to do this, but it was our vested interest to know how Eve had met her fate. “I think she was stabbed,” he said. Something in those words rang true. I could not help but admit to myself that that was what I had been fearing all the while. God, it was horrible. How in hell had Eve been stabbed? The six of us were the only people for miles around. It made no sense at all . . .

“I think Karl’s right,” Jill stated. “The cut looked too clean to be made by falling or anything like that. I know there is the metal frame of the cot that could have caused this, it has a few sharp edges. But the fact is, an accidental cut like that would be more jagged.”

“If she died by bleeding to death,” Don cut in, “then where’s the blood? I mean, is it just me or are there only a few sporadic spots?” He was right. Dead right. It was an interesting little mystery that none of us had an answer for. Or if someone did, he or she did not speak it aloud. It was not something I wanted to think about.

I didn’t really want to think about any of it; I don’t think any one of us did. I was still having trouble processing what had just occurred. My friend could not actually be dead. But she was. I wished I could push the thought out of my mind and therefore erase wh˝at had happened. My wish was not granted, obviously.

“What should we do?” Karl asked, fear in his eyes.

“Shouldn’t we go to the police. It’s the obvious thing to do,” I replied.

“No,” Karl said. “We can’t do that.”

“Why not?” Jill demanded, venom in her voice. “Give me one good reason why we shouldn’t!”

“Well . . . “ Karl began, becoming confused. He seemed to have no good reason. Then one struck him. “We have no phone!” he exclaimed.

“So what?” I asked. “We can drive there. You will take us, Justin, won’t you?”

“I don’t know,” Justin replied, deep in thought. “It is rather far away. It would take at least an hour to get there, and another to get back, under normal weather conditions. In this snow, it would probably be a lot longer. But I suppose I could make the trip anyway.” I looked out the window and found he was right, a white blanket covered the ground. This really would cause a problem with driving, and for such a long distance.

“No,” Karl suddenly interjected. “I know how these things work. If we go to the police, they will blame it on us. They will think one of us killed her.”

“But that’s crazy!” Jill exclaimed. “Of course none of us killed her!”

“True,” Karl said. “But why would they believe that from us? We have no proof. We are alone in this cabin, and Eve’s wound was clearly intentional. We could go to jail. Especially you, Justin. You are the one who brought us all out here, and this is your cabin.” He had a point there.

“Would they really do that?” Justin asked, anxiety crossing his face.

“Sure would,” Don cut in, speaking for the first time in many minutes. “In our corrupt justice system the criminals run free and the innocent are imprisoned.”

“Besides,” Jill said, “I know this to be true. My uncle is a police officer. They look at the concrete evidence more than they do the stories people give them, for people can easily lie. The evidence here leads one to believe that one or more of us must be the culprit. You can be sure the police will investigate

only us, and it will be almost impossible to disprove this theory. We are all eighteen; we could easily go to jail.”

Jill had a point there, too. I did not want to go to jail, nor did I want my friends to. But I really didn’t want to leave Eve lying on the floor in our room. It might freak me out if I wanted to sleep.

“OK,” I said. “I see your point. But we have to at least do something for Eve.”

There was absolutely nothing we could do for Eve, except attempt to give her a funeral. We tried to give her a proper burial. Karl dug the grave. Justin found a shovel in the closet in his parents’ room. We buried her. Each of us said a prayer for her. It was sad. I cried throughout the whole thing. I silently told Eve I wished things hadn’t turned out this way, that I wished we could have at least given her a proper funeral, but that we knew of nothing else to do. When we were done, the hole was covered. Over and done with. I knew, though, that none of us would ever forget her. It was hard to believe I had to refer to Eve in the past tense, and think of never forgetting her. Only yesterday she was riding in Justin’s van, right beside me.

The world had turned upside down. Nothing worked how it should. I knew it would never right itself again. It seemed% the lines between reality and illusion had blurred, somehow unleashing a demon.

We all went back into the cabin. As I had the night before, I stayed on the porch. I was wary of all of them.

Again I stared out the window, searching the sky for answers. None were forthcoming. If the circumstances had been different, I would have loved it. It was my kind of day. The sun did not show signs of peeking out from the clouds laden with precipitation. The clouds were a foreboding shade of gray. The whole scene seemed to say that more snow could start falling at any given moment. It even smelled like it.

As I stood there as if asking the world for an answer. No direct answers came, but a realization did. Fear registered in my mind as the truth pushed its way to the front of my mind.

£ One of the six of us must have killed Eve. One of my friends. Who could it be? I tried to think rationally to figure it out. I knew I would need to know, no matter how painful or horrible it was, in order to survive the vacation. In order for the rest of us to survive.

Jill had been in the room. She had the easiest access to Eve, and the least chance of getting caught. But could Jill do that? And even if she could, why in the world would she have done such a thing? She could not and there were no reasons. Plus, Jill had definitely been sleeping when I discovered the body. No, it could not be Jill—that didn’t make any sense.

Could it have been Karl? He was the one with the violent mind. He had just yesterday told us a story of a killer with a knife as his prime weapon. What if it were a parallel to real life? I stopped myself. I was reading way too much into a simple story. But Karl had been the one to identify the means by which Eve had been killed. Wait, if Karl had been the killer, would he admit that he knew how his victim had been killed? All these questions could not be easily answered. I was running around in circles. I was forgetting that these were friends of mine whose actions I was trying to analyze. But I had no choice. There was no other way, except to think straight and hard about each of them.

Don? No, he had loved Eve. Even when they argued or fought, it was evident. Don did not always show this, but I knew it to be true. He cared for her. But lately there fights had been more and more fiery. Sparks were flying, and not in a good way. I knew how annoying Eve could be at times. Had she driven Don insane? I didn’t think it was possible. Eve’s deep concern for everything and everyone was what made her so special, and Don knew this. Besides, annoyance did not lead to or explain a killing. No, Don had no motive either.

I didn’t want to think about Justin being the killer. It wasn’t just because I loved him, either. I did not believe Justin could hurt a fly. He was a lot like Eve; he cared about everything and everyone as well. Justin just wasn’t as vocal about it, or so strongly opinionated. It was in his eyes that he cared; he didn’t need to tell me that. Also, Justin barely knew Eve at all, and would definitely have no motive for murder. And as I said, even if he did, I know he could not execute such an action.

Before I condemned my friends, I knew I must first be absolutely sure it could not have been an outsider. I decided to check all around the cabin for any signs of life.

I dared not go inside for a coat. I would have to stick with the sweater I had, over only a light T-shirt. I did, though, turn around. Instead of facing out the window, I stared into the cabin. Jill was sprawled out on a couch, and appeared to be crying. Don was walking into the room he stayed in. I did not see anyone else. It was weird, though. When I first glanced inside I really expected to see Eve’s blonde curls or bright blue eyes looking out at me from around one of the corners, then I realized that was not possible. It was quite a weird sensation.

I crept outside, closing the porch door quietly so as not to attract the attention of my friends. I did not want to be discovered on my mission. I was quite near where Justin had parked his car. Instead of going towards the van, I began my search for signs of other life in the other direction.

I rounded the cabin stealthily, leaving not a rock unturned. I examined everything. I desperately wanted to find evidence of an intruder. Such a thing would remove suspicion from my friends, although it would still be dangerous.

I did not just circle the cabin, I looked in all surrounding areas as well. I squinted my eyes, peering over every inch of landscape for indication of someone’s being there. I walked in the adjacent woods as well as hugged the walls of the cabin. I did not let the cold get to me, though I shivered involuntarily at times.

It was while rounding the last corner, losing hope with every step, that I saw the footprints. They were not big nor small, but footprints all the same.

They were a bit unclear, as some snow had fallen over them. The prints led right to the outside of the cabin and stopped, as if someone had walked straight into the wall and then, poof, disappeared. There were no tracks leading back away from the wall. I was bewildered. How could this have happened?

I knelt down to look closer. I noticed one part, a section, of the lower half of the cabin wall, that looked different from the rest. Aside from that there was nothing. I had to think straight. People don’t just walk into cabin walls and vanish; it just can’t be done! I leaned back against the cabin, trying to clear my head, make sense out of what was going on. In doing so, I realized just how different the one patch of wood was from the rest. It was nicely and precisely made. It was a vertical rectangle. The two top corners were perfect right angles. The two sides were perfectly perpendicular to the ground. It aroused a curiosity in me. The wood in the special spot was unique, darker and smoother than the wood the rest of the cabin was composed of. Then I noticed a circular piece near the center of the right-hand side. By that time, my hands were pretty numb from the cold, but despite that I could tell that my circular object was a doorknob.

I felt like Alice In Wonderland. I almost wondered if something might pop up with the words “Eat me” or “Drink me” on it, but nothing happened. The door I had discovered was small, but not extremely so. It was about half my height, and the width of a regular door.

I turned the knob and pushed inward, but nothing happened. I tried instead turning it and pulling outward. The whole space opened before me. I wondered where it could possibly lead to. I stuck my head inside to see only faintly. I could tell there were steps leading downward. I knew I needed to explore further.

I considered going back to the cabin for a flashlight, but quickly discarded the idea. I did not exactly trust the people there.

I did something else, maybe a mistake, but I felt it necessary. I took off my seater and wedged it under the small door, propping it open. Then I had only a T-shirt to protect me from the cold. I had read enough mystery novels in my life to know that if I didn’t leave something in the door, it would most likely slam shut when I reached the bottom of the stairs, leaving me without light, leaving me to starve to death in a cold tomb.

I slowly made my way down the stairs. They were quite bumpy, made of earth. I would guess that they had been constructed hastily and without much care. I stepped carefully into a tiny room. One wall was wood-paneled like the others, while the other three looked like they had been dug with a crude shovel. In one corner, there was an old rusty telephone. It was not a touch tone phone, but instead it was one of those phones that must be dialed manually. I almost picked it up, but it looked so rusty and old, that I decided not to.

The only other thing in there was a piece of paper. I picked it up. It seemed to have some sort of drawing on it, but I could not be sure. I was shaking violently by this time, and there was little light.

Suddenly I felt hands on my shoulders. I nearly jumped out of my skin, literally. I let out a scream that would make even the most fearless person’s blood boil.

~~~

Another installment of Affinity for Darkness, a novel I wrote in the winter of my junior year of high school. To read from the beginning:

Feel free to check out other Samples (including more current work), and Published and more early work.

~Emilia J

Next Up: AfD Chapter Eight

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